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Video:Getting a Breast Biopsy

with Dr. Kate Grossman

Hearing that you need a Breast Biopsy can be a scary prospect, but it doesn't need to be. Learn exactly what's going to happen and what the potential results will be, straight from a doctor, and put your mind at ease.See Transcript

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Transcript:Getting a Breast Biopsy

Hi, I'm Dr. Kate Grossman, for About.com Health.

Your doctor just told you that you need a breast biopsy. Now, all that you can think is you must have breast cancer. You don't know what's going to happen and you are scared.

Who Gets a Breast Biopsy?

In the United States, over a half a million breast biopsies are performed every year. In most cases, they are performed because of an abnormal finding on a breast exam or mammogram. But, four out of five times, cancer is not found.

Before a Breast Biopsy

Now, on the day of the biopsy, you will be asked to have a light meal and wear a comfortable two-piece outfit.
You should not use any of the following on or near your breast:
  • Talcum powder
  • Deoderant
  • Lotion
They can interfere with the biopsy.

Breast Biopsy

You will be asked to undress from the waist up and wear a gown. You will lie down on an exam table and the nurse or technician will cover your breast with a sheet. Your breast is cleaned with an antiseptic to help reduce the risk of infection.

A small needle is placed under the skin, and local anesthetic is administered to numb the area. You may feel a pin-prink and some burning. A small incision is then made with a scalpel to make room for the biopsy needle. The area should be numb from the anesthetic, but if you feel pain, just let the doctor know. The biopsy needle is inserted into the breast and advanced until the desired location is reached. You may feel some pressure. Several tissues samples will be obtained, but you should not feel pain.
Once the samples are obtained, the needle is removed. There may be some bleeding so the doctor or nurse may apply pressure to the wound. Stitches are not usually necessary, but you may be sent home with a bandage. The whole procedure typically takes less than 15 minutes.

After a Breast Biopsy

Though your breast may feel a little bit tender or swollen, if you feel up to it, you can return to your normal activities immediately.

Breast Biopsy Results

The results come back in about a week. It is critically important to make a Breast Cancer diagnosis as early as possible. If breast cancer is found on your breast biopsy, you may have just taken the first steps toward saving your life. You may be asked to have additional testing to determine staging, treatment options and prognosis. But just remember, most often the results of the biopsy will be benign, and you can be reassured - there is no cancer.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at Health.About.com.

Please click here to learn more about Lutheran Medical Centers in Brooklyn, NY.
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